First Team - Report
|Carlton Town||3||vs||2||Belper Town|
LAST GASP HAWKRIDGE NAILS BELPER
A penalty in the third minute of stoppage time from Terry Hawkridge saw Carlton Town beat Belper Town 3-2 in a pulsating clash at the Bill Stokeld stadium.
The game, the first of three meetings between these sides in the next two weeks, saw Les McJannet make four changes from the side which beat Heanor in the FA Cup. Hawkridge, Ashley Grayson, Ian Brown and Rob Darkin all returned, the latter after serving a three-match suspension, and Rob Gill, Ryan Goward and Theo Smith dropped to the bench, with Matt Millns unavailable.
Belper had the first opportunity with Colin Marrison heading wide in the second minute and the Millers responded with a good run by former Belper man Reuben Wiggins-Thomas whose cross into the danger zone had not been read by any of his team mates.
The opening quarter of the game was a tight affair, with both sides’ defences having the measure of their opponents and space at a premium. Danny Marshall was called upon to make one good save from Marrison and at the other end Tom Turner was having a fairly quiet day in the Belper goal.
That was until the 28th minute when out of nothing the Millers took the lead. Hawkridge picked up the ball on the right win and whipped over a tremendous cross which Ashley Grayson steered into the corner of the net giving Turner no chance.
Minutes later Grayson almost doubled his tally but a fine last ditch block prevented him from doing so.
Carlton came forward again and after another cross from Hawkridge presented Grayson with a chance from four yards, the former Heanor man missed his kick and the chance went.
Belper got their equaliser on 37 minutes when a long ball from Turner was flicked on to Lee Morris who, on an impressive afternoon, held off the Millers defence and finished neatly with a hooked shot across Marshall.
With the referee looking at his watch for half-time, Carlton regained the lead. Hawkridge again was the provider as his cross was missed by Turner. The ball fell in front of at least three Carlton players and with the goal gaping Ashley Grayson forced it over the line.
Barely had the second half kicked off before the Nailers had equalised again. This time a cross from the right was met by Marrison whose shot flew across Marshall and into the bottom corner.
Back came Carlton and a great free kick by Hawkridge was well saved by Turner. This was the cue for the Millers fans in an excellent gate of 156 to roar their team on, with particular support coming from a number of pupils of Carlton le Willows school attending for the first time.
The game continued in much the same vein as the first half with neither side able to make a great deal of headway against their opponents, and Nick Hall and Ashley Grayson in particular having colossal games in midfield.
With time running out Belper thought they should have had a penalty as Darkin handled the ball, but the referee called the infringement just outside the area and Marshall was equal to the quick free kick.
He then had to save expertly from a Darkin header which looked to be heading for the top corner, before at the other end a Hawkridge cross just eluded the oncoming Wiggins-Thomas.
With the game entering the third and final minute of stoppage time Hawkridge cut in from the right, beat his man and then beat him again, drawing a foul well inside the penalty are. The referee was partially unsighted and looked to his linesman for assistance, who flagged for the penalty.
Up stepped Hawkridge himself to crack home into Turner’s bottom right corner, win the game and send the home supporters into raptures.
Carlton Town: Marshall, Thornton, Fletcher, Kitchen, Darkin, Hall, A Grayson, Kimberley (Smith 64), Hawkridge, Brown (Gill 75), Wiggins-Thomas (Hollis 86). Unused substitutes: Goward, Clarke.
Goals: A Grayson 28, 45, Hawkridge 90 (pen)
Carlton Town Supporters Club MOTM: Nick Hall